Dallas Cowboys: Why have they neglected this important position?

Byron Jones #31 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Byron Jones #31 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys know how to find players for certain positions, but they neglect this one position far too often.

Although the Dallas Cowboys have not played in a Super Bowl since the end of the 1995 season, the one thing the Cowboys have done for over 15 years is field a talented roster of players.

Say what you want about team success, but the Dallas Cowboys have boasted some of the most talented players of the past few decades. You can go as far back as the Bill Parcells era and see a list of talented players that wore the star. Some of those players are either in the Hall of Fame (wide receiver Terrell Owens) or future Hall of Famers, like Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, and Darren Woodson, just to name a few.

But as good as the Cowboys are at drafting  players for some positions, they either fail or neglect miserably at this all important position. And that position is none other than the defensive back position.

Whether it’s the cornerback or safety position, the Cowboys come up short far too often in hitting on this invaluable position. It’s far and few between when the Cowboys can draft a really good defensive back. And when the Cowboys do find a really good one, they let him walk in free agency without even offering the player a contract.

 My goodness!

That particular player was former Cowboys’ defensive back Byron Jones. You remember Jones, rated as the third best corner in 2019 and was statistically as good as New England Patriots defensive back Stephon Gilmore. But because Jones lacked interceptions, ole cheap man Stephen Jones decided it was in Jones best interest to test the free agent market.

But for whatever reason, the Jones’ neglect of the defensive back position will only get worse until its finally a priority!.

Come on man. They didn’t even attempt to offer Jones a contract! Who could have been the cornerstone of the secondary. And you wonder why this franchise is in the state its in! Especially its secondary!

For all of the naysayers who didn’t believe in Jones’ ability, let me put Jones’ value in perspective. Jones covered opposing teams’ best receivers and did it with ease. For example, Jones successfully covered the likes of Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Stefon Diggs, Alshon Jeffery, and Cooper Kupp. He was one of the least targeted CBs in the entire league last year.

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If you don’t believe Jones is an elite corner, then I don’t know what to tell you. Besides, it explains why Dallas was ranked 11th in defense last season, compared to being ranked dead this season.

Being an elite corner is not all about grabbing interceptions. Yes, it’s a good skill set to have, but another layer of being a good corner is preventing the receiver from  simply catching the ball. Period.

That’s why I’ll never understand why Dallas has miscalculated the talent at the corner position. The corner position is just as luxurious as the wide receiver position. They’re the mirror image of each other. A lot of corners are former receivers and vice versa.

Trevon Diggs is a good example.

A CB1 is just as important as a WR1, and you give a supporting cast to help either position. Dallas had that last season with Jones, and because Jones is not available to cover WR1, the rest of Dallas’ secondary looks so bad, lost and disposable.

Dallas hit the jackpot by drafting Trevon Diggs in the second round, a player with a first round grade. But outside of that, Dallas seems to draft defensive backs with good potential, but only to see them fall to being average.

For instance, Anthony Brown, Jourdan Lewis, Chidobe Awuzie, and Xavier Woods fit the phrase “potential”. They’ve all caught interceptions and made some key plays throughout their short NFL careers, but we’ve seen more inconsistency than anything from this group.

To be fair, some of their inconsistency can be attributed to coaching techniques and having a new defensive coordinator in Mike Nolan. But after four and five years of tape, it’s safe to say that this group will not reach its full potential.

It’s time to move on after the season.  This is who they are.

Brown will be back next year because he was re-signed back in March, maybe Awuzie, too, if he’s moved to safety. But Lewis and Woods are likely gone.

In all likelihood, all of them are gone except Brown. But if Brown continues to play at a lackluster level, he might be traded after the season. Come draft time, all eyes should be on what type of DBs Dallas selects.

Make no mistake – this is all Dallas’ fault because they have flat-out bypassed legit corners over the years. Instead of drafting defensive backs like Damon Arnette, Noah Igbinoghene, or Jeff Gladney in 2020, Dallas opted to draft CeeDee Lamb, an outstanding receiver.

I’m beyond happy that Dallas drafted Lamb, but for sake of discussion, the opportunity was there to draft one of those defensive backs. If Dallas drafted Arnette, for example, they would have drafted two legitimate corners in Arnette and Diggs. Solidifying half of their secondary with talented corners for years to come.

In the 2019 draft, Dallas decided to draft defensive tackle Trysten Hill instead of safety Juan Thornhill, Taylor Rapp, or Greedy Williams. In the 2018 draft, Dallas drafted offensive lineman Connor Williams instead of moving up and nabbing Josh Jackson, who went to Green Bay.

When it comes to that 2019 class of defensive backs, Dallas could benefit with Thornhill presence. Last season, Dallas miffed on the opportunity to trade for then Miami Dolphins safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick.

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Dallas saw how effective Fitzpatrick was against them when he nabbed a crucial interception late in the a must-win game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers only gave up a first and fifth round pick in 2020, and a 2021 sixth round pick for Fitzpatrick. Are you telling me that Dallas couldn’t sacrifice that much for a game changing safety? Hey, Fitzpatrick can play.

And look at those Steelers, undefeated and en route to their seventh Lombardi trophy. And do not like the Steelers, at all.

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Because Dallas is a franchise that has a history of great defensive backs being in the Hall of Fame, you’d think that Jerry Jones and Stephen would continue that trend. But for whatever reason, the Jones’ neglect of the defensive back position will only get worse until its finally a priority!.

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  • Published on 12/03/2020 at 12:01 PM
  • Last updated at 12/03/2020 at 10:47 AM